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A boot camp for would-be Roman warriors

The creators of As One fitness are taking a group of 20 New Yorkers to the woods of Pennsylvania where they'll burn calories like Roman soldiers.
Photo via Flickr/sentex64

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your abs.

That’s the idea behind the quirkiest fitness retreat we’ve ever heard of.

Mark Merchant, co-founder of the killer As One workout program, came across a manual on how Roman soldiers prepared for battle.

“I was marveling at the work output,” he says, so he designed a modern workout adventure in the woods of Pennsylvania that will mirror the training. “It’s more real world than a triathlon or running a marathon.”

How real? Twenty men and women will complete (faux) weapons training, dig a trench and build a parapet (a dirt wall), and set up and break down camp, all surrounding the main event—a 20-mile march with a heavy pack on your back (you choose the weight, unlike the Romans who had to carry 60 pounds).

Downtime will include Roman-style meals consisting of “lots of meat and cheese.” There will also be wine and stories of valor around a bonfire.

Although the challenge is real, “We don’t want to make it sound like it’s going to be an absolutely annihilating weekend,” says Merchant. There will be 3 months of As One’s training leading up to it, with special additions to the normal routine (like learning the correct way to swing an ax).

And unlike the Roman army, the first three people to sign on have been women. The downside? As of right now, no Roman skirts, sandals, or armor will be provided. -Lisa Elaine Held

Ancient Roman Legion Training Weekend, September 16th-18th (Training starts June 20th), $1200,